Sophomore guard Alicia Hopkins (Columbus, Ind.) scored a game-high 17 points and matched her career best with nine steals as the Hanover College women's basketball team topped Anderson University, 79-67. The Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference contest was held Wednesday, Jan. 16 in Collier Arena.
The victory marked the ninth in a row for Hanover against Anderson and raised the Panthers' record to 12-4 overall and 6-3 in the HCAC.
Hopkins scored the first points of the game and senior Natalie Morse (Mitchell, Ind.) followed with her own lay-up as the Panthers jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead just 20 seconds into play.
The game quickly become defensive-minded and physical, as neither team reached double digits until a Jade Tubb (Louisville, Ky) three-pointer put Hanover up 11-6 at the 10:13 mark.
Senior forward Courtney Prater (Anderson, Ind.) then corralled her own offensive rebound and scored in the paint, to put Hanover ahead 13-8.
Prater grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds and scored 13 points from the post position.
The teams traded buckets for the next several minutes until Anderson forward Amy Wuestefeld tied the game with two free throws with 8:03 remaining in the first period.
Sophomore guard Megan Caudill (Richmond, Ind.) responded with quick steal and classmate Shauna Watson (Fort Wayne, Ind.) sank two free throws to spark a 15-2 Hanover run.
Caudill matched her career high with 12 points, hitting 6-of-8 free throws off the bench.
Hanover hit 14-of-16 (87.5%) free throws in the first period and shot 77.8 percent (28-of-36) for the game.
Hanover threatened to run away with the lead, but Anderson reserve Jenna Wittenberg hit two treys and sank four free throws in the final three minutes of the half to keep the game close.
Hopkins hit two free throws with eight seconds remaining to push the Panther to a 36-25 lead at intermission.
Hanover held the double-digit for the most of the second period before a 12-5 Anderson run reduced the Panther lead to one (55-54) with 13:01 to play.
The previously stalled Panther offense responded with a slew of three pointers to push the lead back to double digits and secure the win.
Senior forward Katie Gahimer (Greensburg, Ind.) rebounded a Raven miss, shot an outlet pass to Morse and sprinted down court to be in position to hit a three-pointer that started the rally with eight minutes remaining.
Morse followed with a three-pointer of her own off a Watson assist , initiated by an Elyse Weddle (Bloomfield, Ind) steal as the Panthers pulled ahead 61-54.
On the next possession, the Ravens cut into the Panther lead with a Wittenberg three-pointer before sending Weddle to the foul line.
Weddle hit both shots and Hanover followed with a Gahimer jumper from the top of the lane.
The Panther defense held strong on the next possession and Gahimer found Watson at the top of the key for three-pointer that put the Panthers up 68-57.
Anderson rallied to within six points (73-67) with 47 second remaining, forcing Hanover to call a timeout.
The Panthers responded with an untouched lay-up by Hopkins to push the lead to 75-67.
Anderson missed a three and Hopkins quickly passed the ball inside to Prater for a quick bucket in the post to put the Panthers up 10 (77-67) with 17 seconds left in the game.
Caudill closed the game with two free-throws.
With the loss, Anderson fell to 4-12 and 3-6 in the league.
The Ravens outrebounded the Panthers 40-24, but had 39 turnovers in the losing effort.
Led by Hopkins, Hanover collected 22 steals and notched 15 assists.
Hanover shot 40.7 percent (22-of-54) from the field and 38.9 percent (7-of-18) from three-point range. Anderson hit 21-of-52 (40.4%) from the floor and 7-of-15 (46.7%) from beyond the arc.
Published Wednesday, January 16, 2013